Earlier today I appeared on ITV This Morning, on the programme’s regular Divorce Clinic. Viewers called and emailed with their questions about divorce and Christmas.
I know it is only October, but This Morning has already received a startling number of queries from those who are anxious about what to do at Christmas time. If you are considering divorce, should you proceed now or wait until the New Year? If you are in the middle of divorce, what is going to happen at Christmas? What arrangements are in place for the children? And if your divorce is complete, you will know that although Christmas is a wonderful time, it can also be a stressful period when tempers flare and hostilities resurface.
I have posted previously about how, in the run-up to Christmas, new clients come to see us because the thought of another miserable festive season fills them with dread. My advice is to do whatever it takes to relieve the pressure and stay sane at Christmas time.
To this, I would add that if your relationship is in trouble or if there is already conflict between you and your former partner about divorce, money, the home or who will be looking after the children, you should take sensible action sooner rather than later. It is vitally important to make immediate or short-term financial arrangements, to stabilise and then to start to think about the future. You will need good advice so dont do it in bits and pieces.
There is no point in ignoring the elephant in the room. Relationship breakdown is one of the most grievious events that could ever happen to any of us. Respect the fallout and take action. Tell yourself this coming year isn’t going to be great so you can then cope. If it isn’t great, you’ve expected it. If it’s better than you thought (which it may well be) then that’s a bonus. But don’t ignore what needs to be done.
As for arrangements over Christmas, right now there is still time to resolve the situation amicably if this is possible, to instruct a solicitor or, if it comes to it, to go to court to finalise Christmas contact arrangements.
My next appearance on This Morning is scheduled for Wednesday 21 November 2012, when we will be examining child contact arrangements and enforcing contact orders in more detail.